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Monday, September 9, 2013

Because It Is Layton's Name!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - A true gentleman for allowing others to use his name?

To those who haven't heard yet: A new game in the Professor Layton series, named Layton 7, has been announced by Level-5. Well, whatever, it's not like KoopaTV really cares about this series outside of its crossover with Ace Attorney with Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney. Maybe we should, but none of us have played it! ...Wait, hold on. The new game in the Professor Layton series won't have Layton in it? ...What?

According to Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino, Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy will be the last game in the main series that actually has Professor Layton as the protagonist. But it'll still be the Professor Layton series. The name Layton 7 obviously means the 7th Layton game in the main series, and Azran Legacy is the 6th. So that makes sense, but how can it be the Professor Layton series without him?

When Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney came around, people still called it "Ace Attorney 4." They didn't call it "Phoenix Wright 4", because that wouldn't be accurate. Donkey Kong wasn't playable in Donkey Kong Country 2 and Donkey Kong Country 3, but he was still part of the story! Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 moved that punkish plumber to a sub-title as the new series came first. When Zero finally took the stardom of the Mega Man X series like he was meant to away from X, the series was still renamed to Mega Man Zero instead of... becoming "Mega Man X7". I mean we later got an actual Mega Man X7 but the only thing notable about that was Flame Hyenard.

Clearly it's industry practice for franchise titles with characters in them to change the name when the character also changes. So what is Level-5 doing? Well they made an iOS-only game called Layton Brothers: Mystery Room, starring Professor Layton's son. I guess he's technically still a "Layton", and he's probably not a professor since that part has been dropped from the title. However, from what I can tell, he's an only child. Hence, no brother.

So could Layton 7's "cast", described as a "small town", all be inbred Layton descendents? That way, Level-5 is maintaining the naming scheme started by Layton Brothers: Mystery Room. If a game in the Layton series has Professor Layton himself, it'll specifically put "Professor" in the title!

That zombie is the product of generations of in-breeding.
Of course, we can see this even in the one Layton movie, "Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva". Layton obviously stars there. Akihiro Hino claimed he wants more than one movie in the series, so we'll see how that naming goes. Interestingly enough any movie would be closely based on the game plots, unlike what Ubisoft vowed in this previous article. Would the "Professor" stay if a movie was based on Layton 7? Is it a coincidence that the above image has seven characters if one counts the dog?

It's not unheard of for original game ideas to have established IPs plastered over them, like "Dinosaur Planet" turning into Star Fox Adventures and "Fluff of Yarn" turning into Kirby's Epic Yarn. Those kept a lot of elements of the old project but with Fox or Kirby as the new protagonist. Here it's literally slapping Layton's name on a game that doesn't play like Layton or even have Layton!

Is Level-5 not confident that their new franchise ideas can sell despite the high reputation they have earned in the game industry? Will Layton's name be thrown around more than Mario's??!

Ludwig has a unique name, and also a unique Nintendo Network ID at PrinceOfKoopas. Follow him. You won't regret it.

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